Isolation a barrier to exposing sexual abuse, incest on reserve: Bellegarde – by Kristy Kirkup (Canadian Press — Nov 13 2016)

http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/

OTTAWA — At night, he would arrive in Corey’s room by crawling through the window next to the bunk bed where she slept. She knew from the smell when he was there. By day, she endured different hands, sometimes under the most mundane circumstances — once, she recalls, while in the kitchen eating lunch. He pulled down her underwear and started fondling her. He left money on the table.

They were family members, these two predators — their unwanted touch impossible to escape for a young girl living on a remote First Nation in British Columbia.

That isolation, a fact of life for many Aboriginal Peoples, is a pernicious barrier to the essential goal of exposing the scourge of indigenous sexual abuse and incest, says Perry Bellegarde, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

Bellegarde is pleading with chiefs to confront the problem head-on. But he also acknowledges a difficult truth: many First Nations people who live in remote areas are reluctant to come forward with their allegations for fear of reprisals in their small, tightly knit communities.

“If you don’t have a safe space, are you going to talk about this?” he said in an interview. “If you do talk about this … and expose this, are you going to have the necessary supports in place?”

Corey — not her real name — is skeptical. She knows from bitter personal experience how hard it can be to have faith in authorities within indigenous communities, where sexual abuse is so often swept under the rug.

For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2016/11/13/isolation-a-barrier-to-exposing-sexual-abuse-incest-on-reserve-bellegarde-3/#.WCnYr2orLIU

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